Photo source: Newshub
Torrential rain and the Prime Minister's absence meant it was an uncharacteristically subdued day at Waitangi yesterday, until it was livened up by a flying dildo.
Economic Minister Steven Joyce was hit in the face by the novelty fake penis thrown by a solitary protester, Josie Butler, who called "that's for raping our sovereignty", as she threw it.
Mr Joyce later laughed it off and tweeted, "someone send the gif [image] over to [late-night talk show host] John Oliver so we can get it over with."
Ms Butler was taken away by police, but the event and Mr Joyce's response had him trending on Twitter within an hour.
Last night, the Christchurch nurse said on Facebook that she was out of custody and no charges had been laid.
Mr Joyce was one of a handful of ministers remaining in Waitangi after Prime Minister John Key pulled the pin on his plans to attend. Mr Key refused to visit with a "gagging order" in place by the leadership at Te Tii marae, barring him from speaking about politics, and because of the security risk with major TPP protests expected.
Several Government ministers including Nick Smith, Maggie Barry and Hekia Parata remained in Waitangi for meetings with the iwi leaders and functions the PM had expected to go to today including the dawn service.
The Prime Minister has also given up his annual Waitangi breakfast and address. He will instead attend the NRL Auckland Nines as well as other events.
The remaining National MPs also stayed away from Te Tii Marae and the expected crowds of protesters. The marae greeted fewer than 100 and few stayed to watch proceedings at the marae.
Mr Key's absence gave Labour leader Andrew Little a clear run - and if Labour was also told not to speak politics at the marae he simply ignored it. He addressed both the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Mr Key's absence, saying it was the Crown's responsibility not to walk away from debate, whether it was "here, at the Sky City casino signing deals or in Parliament".
Afterward he said it was hard not to talk about politics and said if it was him he would have gone to Te Tii whatever the rules.
Labour's powhiri was marred at the start after a kuia objected to Labour's deputy leader Annette King and other female MPs sitting in the front row. That prompted a heated defence by Labour member and Ngapuhi leader Rudy Taylor and the MPs moved rather than cause trouble.
Reuben Taipari, one of the leaders of the TPP protests, was unimpressed with Mr Key, saying it was "pretty weak". "I think he's a bit of a coward if he's not going to face up to the questions people ask."
However, Mr Key had an unlikely ally in NZ First leader Winston Peters who said it was the fault of the Ngapuhi leadership and unreasonable to expect a Prime Minister to be silent on Government issues.